Brockport at the Fringe!

The second annual Rochester Fringe Festival kicks off Thursday, September 19th with 360 performances at 28 venues over 10 days. Brockport dancers, alumni, and faculty are boasting a decidedly strong presence at this historic event in the Rochester arts scene! With affordable ticket prices, including many free shows, downtown will be the place to see and be seen for the dance community.

For more shows and details, check out: http://rochesterfringe.com

Articulated Vulnerability
Saturday Sept. 21, 8:30pm
$8 at RAPA Theatre (Rochester Association of Performing Arts)
(Featuring the work of current BFA students, Brett Cox and Zach Frazee)

Bag of Tricks
Saturday Sept. 21, 5pm
$8 at MuCCC Theatre (Multi-use Cultural Community Center)
(Featuring the work of MFA graduate, Juliana Utz and MFA graduate/ current faculty member, Nicole Kaplan)

Bill Evans Dance Company
Sunday Sept. 22, 2pm & 4pm
$15 at Eastman School of Music: New Rehearsal Hall
billevansdance.org

Heather Roffee Dance and James Hansen Assemblage Dance Present:
Merged- A Dance Concert
Wednesday Sept. 25, 6pm; Friday Sept. 27, 5:30pm; Saturday Sept. 2, 12pm
$16 at The Geva Theatre Center Nextstage

Mariah Maloney Dance
Thursday Sept. 19, 8pm; Sunday Sept. 22, 6:30pm
$12 at The TheatreROCS Stage at Xerox Auditorium
mariahmaloneydance.com

Red Dirt Dance Presents: The Goldilocks Score and Other Dances
Thursday & Friday September 19 & 20, 6pm
$16 at the Geva Theatre Center Next stage
(Featuring the work of faculty member, Karl Rogers)
reddirtdance.com

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Dancing, Sweating, Bowling, Creating, and Smiling: Doug Varone and Dancers 14th Annual Summer Workshop

By Angie Muzzy

Over 50 participants from around the world came to The College at Brockport’s Department of Dance to study for three weeks with Doug Varone and Dancers. I was fortunate enough to be one of them. Allow me to guide you through a typical day, first take an 8am Pilates class (optional) with DOVA (acronym for the nonprofit dance company) dancer Erin Owen then head right into technique taught by one of the 8 members of the company rotating each teacher every two days, without any hesitation go straight into the phrasework class. The main objectives learn movement QUICKLY and REMEMBER it! This too is taught by all members of the company and Doug rotating every two days. After the hour brain tease it is off to lunch where participants are able to sit in Strasser Studio and watch Doug Varone process through the creation of a new work. Then it is on to either Ballet with Rachel List or Improvisation with Keith Johnson. (I took improv) And finally, the last and certainly the most exciting class of the day, electives. Five were offered, Small Rep (excerpts), Large Rep, New Work, Performance Technique and Choreographic Devices.
Most nights consisted of Doug and the company showcasing pieces and discussing the process of how a particular piece was made such as Mouth Above Water 2013, Carrugi 2012, or Rise 1993, learning Baroque dance from Rachel List, taking over Brockport Bowl, chats with company members: Alex, Colin, Eddie, Erin, Hollis, Hsiao Jou, Julia & Xan, sharing what the participants were working on in their elective classes, improv jams, pot lucks and genuinely having a good time watching, talking and moving throughout the three weeks.
This New York City Company will be back next summer and I highly recommend taking this workshop. Doug Varone has been making work for over 25 years and he is very articulate about his artistry. For example he shared in the choreographic devices class that his pieces always have the following elements: musicality, architecture, gesture, and humanity.
Check out http://www.dougvaroneanddancers.org/ to locate tour dates, and see them live if you can!

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Bill Evans Teachers’ Intensive

By Bethany Fagan

This past week I had the pleasure of attending the 37th Annual Bill Evans Summer Institute of Dance, hosted at The College of Brockport. Formatted as a Teacher’s Intensive, it brought together dance educators from all over. The intensive began with a bang – opening with the Bill Evans and Friends Summer Dance Concert II, featuring works from across the country, before heading into a full week.

Throughout the week there was such a breadth and depth of information presented through basic Bartenieff Fundamentals patterning, Laban-Based Modern Technique and Laban-Based Ballet. Participants were also offered the opportunity to dig deeper into Laban concepts with William Evans and MFA candidate Colleen Culley before heading to an evening Pedagogy Seminar with Don Halquist. Each of these classes folded into one another as the information presented by Evans and Culley supported and encouraged the movement experiences provided by Evans and the rest of the intensive’s teaching faculty (Cadence Whittier, Heather Acomb, and Vanessa Van Wormer).

While I know that my dancing and teaching will forever be influenced by the events of this week’s classes, it is the generosity and openness of all whom were present that I will carry with me everyday. Within hours of being together, we had created our own dancing community – a community that supported one another while being generous with knowledge, both given and received. It was a judgment-free intensive; we all were able to move and speak freely without fear.

This coupling of allowing openness and care, while also supporting internal reflecting and connectivity, is what made the intensive so powerful. Yes, the week began with a room full of adept dancers and educators with beautiful souls, but by the end of the week it was the souls that were shining through in movement – it was these souls who made the week-long experience so wonderful for each participant. It is no wonder that each summer dancers and educators keep coming back for this experience, an opportunity for growing relationships and integrating movement.

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International Conference on Teaching Somatics-Based Dance Technique

By William Evans, Visiting Professor of Dance

From June 20 through June 23, 2013, the Dance Department at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and the Department of Dance at The College at Brockport served as hosts to more than 70 somatics-based movement educators and educators in training in the first International Conference on Teaching Somatics-Based Dance Technique. The conference was conceived and directed by William (Bill) Evans and organized and coordinated by Professor Cynthia Williams (HWS). Participants came from Korea, Mexico, several cities in four Canadian provinces, and many different U.S. states, including Washington, California, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, New York and Massachusetts. The conference included 19 different 90-minute presentations, two adjudicated concerts, and a dinner at which William Evans gave the keynote address.

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Take the Ghanaian Traditions to the Next Level

By Oluyinka Akinjiola

This year’s Sankofa African Dance & Drum Ensemble featured guest artist Yesutor Kotoka and her choreography Adzogbo. With only two trips to our campus Kotoka set her choreography on the Sankofa ensemble. This 16-minute work included five sections of traditional Ghanaian dance, music and songs. This display of artistry and commitment reignited a legacy that began at Brockport with Dr. Alfred Opoku, former artistic director of the Ghana Dance Ensemble and faculty member in the Department of Dance.

Kotoka began her traditional dance studies and performance career at the age of eight with the Center for National Culture and with the Folkloric Selamta Company in Ghana.  During her training with Master Laryea she began to understand the integral part of African culture, dance, and the meaning of gestures in movement. In 1995, Kotoka auditioned for the Ghana Dance Ensemble.  After only completing one quarter of her audition Dr. Opoku asked her to join the Ensemble. While working with Dr. Opoku, Kotoka explained that “he makes sure you take the Ghanaian traditions to the next level, [know] why you are doing it, why it’s done, its importance to the society and to the country as a whole.”

Since leaving the Ghana Dance Ensemble, Kotoka became director of the Folkloric Selamta Company and has taught students from throughout Europe and the United States. Kotoka explains that “my connection with the students is the most important thing for me. One of the things that Prof. Opoku and my master Laryea taught me was as you travel around the world teaching and exposing people to African dance, and the knowledge of it, one important thing is the connection between you and your dancers. The connection is what the dance is. That connection brings out what they can do.”

This connection was evident in Kotoka’s Adzogbo. The cast of 15 dancers and accompaniment of student and community musicians represented the rich textures of Ghanaian culture. Kotoka’s goal in her choreography at Brockport and everywhere she travels is “to present the authenticity of Ghanaian and African dance, and it’s rich, unique, and complex music to students and the world.” Kotoka’s presence reunited Brockport with its rich history with Ghana, while also reminding her Ghanain cast members of home on the Hartwell stage.

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Undergraduate Scholars Represent Brockport at NCUR in Wisconsin

By Maya Gonzalez

It was an honor and a privilege to attend and present at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) this spring. The conference, held at the University of Wisconsin, Lacrosse, hosted an amalgam of different research projects, presented in varying forms consisting of theatre and dance performances, power point presentations, oral presentations, lectures and even art exhibits. I had the incredible opportunity to both perform in a colleague’s work and present my own research to an audience. The experience was eye-opening and exciting, and I traveled with and met some very interesting, very smart people.

Presenting work to a body of like-minded students and interested faculty members was an exhilarating experience. My peers and I discussed our excitement about having the chance to show your work and research to an engaged, friendly and supportive audience. Receiving feedback and engaging in a discussion post-presentation is an extremely satisfying, fulfilling undertaking as well. Being able to do the things that I so love and have a deep passion for, in addition to being able to speak about my experiences doing so, brought out in me a new degree of appreciation for the artistic and academic worlds that I have thus far been a part of. As a communications minor as well as a BFA dance major at the College at Brockport, this adventure solidified my two current fields of study and brought them together in a way that reassured me of my goals and ambitions.

At NCUR, we were given the time and resources to create a dialogue with those who are willing to listen about the concepts and disciplines that we are currently investigating. As a student currently right in the middle of her college career and beginning to discover her truest, deepest life dreams, what more could I have asked for? I can only hope that in the coming years I may participate in further events such as this.

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A Reason to Kick Up Your Heels

By Adrian Safar

The Brockport Student Chapter of the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) have high hopes that some old-time community building might just rub off on our 21st century families. This group, driven by ideas centered on interaction between artists, art, dance, history and neighbors created a palette of events over its recent years.

This year the chapter held, with much success, its first Hoedown. This social event featured the live music of the Golden Eagle String Band and organized both contra- and line-dance. For many of the roughly 25 attendees this was a completely new cultural experience. “This was a different way of socializing and entertaining that many people aren’t used to today,” said one student. Though the crowd was small, smiles and laughter were contagiously embodied. Once the caller began explaining the moves and started making calls it was hard not to have a smile on your face as everyone began to dance wondering what they were doing.

A version of this most recent Hoedown will continue to be hosted in an effort to bring dance to the village of Brockport and create an atmosphere for revolution through intergenerational dialogue within a climate of national transformation. Dance, often relegated to only teenagers and professionals, will be shared and experienced in a moment where teachers, students, and grandparents interact outside the home and school where often intimidation and “power” are present. Dance is the platform for the dialogue that produces change.

The forward thinking minds of NDEO Brockport have already begun to lay out a path for working with a local museum to host a Children’s Hoedown and investing in a fusion event called the Hip-Hop Hoedown. There is an endeavor to increase opportunities through happenings, events, and projects, for local artists and artisans to be involved in their community and collaborate, teach and share with local groups to commemorate history and heritage. It is in this sharing of knowledge the future becomes a horizontal playing field where ideas can be shared and developed without fear of being tipped onto a downward vertical spiral.

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Brockport on the Road: Reflections from the American College Dance Festival

Fresh off a week of Spring Break, a group of dancers from Brockport embarked on a trip to Hofstra University on Long Island for the American College Dance Festival (ACDF) from March 25-28. Below are accounts from two students on their experience and its impact on their dance education.

Chloe Leibrick, Sophomore Dance and Spanish Adolescent Education Major:

When I was sent the ACDF class schedule for the first time, I was not only shocked by how many classes were offered, but by how many different kinds of classes were available. Despite the slightly harrowing process of the mass registration that ensued on our first night, I was able to sign up for several incredible classes. For instance, one of the first classes I took was Lindy Hop. I chose this class simply out of curiosity, and was so pleasantly surprised!

I also had the privilege of attending David Dorfman’s master class on the last day of our week at Hofstra. I had only taken one class with him before, and I was excited to immerse myself in his style of modern dance once again. I saw people of all ages and all cultures, disregarding and overcoming any and all barriers between one another and moving together as individuals with a common purpose.

Aside from the classes, I was absolutely stunned by the incredible performances that I was able to attend at this festival. Night after night, I was inspired by gorgeous dancers, bold choreographic choices, stunning costume and musical elements, and an overwhelming sense of passion for one’s art.

I will always cherish my experience at the American College Dance Festival. I took nine incredible classes that each taught me something new about one of my greatest passions; I witnessed some of the most spectacular performances I have ever seen, both in educational and professional settings; I connected with dancers from all over the country, some of whom I continue to keep in-touch with. I am so blessed to have been given so many gifts from this incredible conference, most importantly, the hope for a bright and beautiful future in the world of dance.

Allison Bohman, First Year MFA:

Attending the 2013 American College Dance Festival at Hofstra University was truly an honor. Not only was I proud to be attending as a representative from The College at Brockport, but a sense of community within the dance world as a whole was evident throughout this entire conference. It instilled a sense of excitement in me for the future of dance. Hundreds of dancers, dozens of colleges, and an endless display of talent combined to create an outstanding week of dancing and by the end, we were a community of dance artists, rather than dancers from separate schools.

Throughout the week, I had the opportunity to take a variety of dance classes. From ballet to Jamaican dance hall, to modern classes with Paul Taylor company dancers to lindy hop and massage for dancers. It was wonderful trying new things, while still working on techniques, like ballet, that I have been practicing for my entire life. In the Dance in The Community class I participated in, I experienced unique ways to bring dance into the community, specifically in a public school setting. At this particular festival, it was special see how small the world of dance is. Even though the conference was comprised of a variety of different colleges, in the end, we all will be working together in the field of dance. I found ACDF to be an excellent networking tool as well as mutual ground on which I ran into old friends from past dance concerts, summer camps, and training schools.

In addition to the outstanding classes offered, ACDF provides students with the chance to see a lot of dance. At the end of the week, a special gala performance was held, showcasing what the adjudicators had deemed as the strongest pieces. I am thrilled that both of the pieces submitted by The College at Brockport were selected to perform in this gala! Choreography by Angie Muzzy and Nicole Kaplan, combined with strong performances and dancing by Brockport dancers, made me proud to be representing Brockport. It was exciting to see these dances that I once witnessed on the Brockport stage, come to life again on a different stage.

The American College Dance Festival Association’s mission to “foster creative potential, to honor multiple approaches to scholarly and creative research and activity, to promote excellence in choreography and/or performance, and to give presence and value to diversity in dance” was definitely apparent through my experiences this week. Most importantly, I was reminded of why I love dance so much. I am honored to have been given the opportunity to attend this conference and look forward to utilizing all that I learned this week in contributing to the future of dance.

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Coming Soon: DANCE/Strasser

DANCE/Strasser, featuring choreography by undergraduate and graduate students from The College at Brockport’s nationally renowned Department of Dance, will be performed Thursday through Saturday, April 4 – 6, 2013, at 7:30 pm in Rose L. Strasser Studio in Hartwell Hall, Kenyon Street, Brockport.

The new works included in the showing highlight choreography and performance technique by students in one of the nation’s most respected college dance programs. All of the works go through rigorous adjudication and mentoring processes, in which the Department of Dance’s faculty encourage students to refine their choreographic vision and coach the dancers.

The concert features an MFA thesis project, “Clean This Up and Tie a Pretty Bow on it,” by graduate student Elizabeth Osborn. In this dance, Osborn mines the post-modern choreography of the 1960s to cultivate her own task-based movement vocabulary. This year’s spring concert also features a number of duets in which the choreographers each depict a unique, nuanced relationship between two people. Karl Rogers, Assistant Professor and Artistic Director of the concert, comments that “After seeing these works grow through the adjudication process, it is surprising how varied the duet form can be.” On the other side of the spectrum, Justin Bass’ “Vibe” and Christine Benincasa’s “Prism Dream Fragments” are vibrant group works that inhabit the entire stage and display powerhouse dancing. An added attraction to this program will be the winning work of the Student Dance Organization’s “Dancing With the Athletes” competition.

Ticket prices:
$15/General
$10/Seniors, Brockport Alumni, Faculty and Staff
$8/Students
Tickets are available by phone at (585) 395-2787 or at the Tower Fine Arts Center Box Office. Visit www.brockport.edu/finearts for more information.
Any previously unsold tickets will be available for purchase at the Hartwell Box Office one hour prior to each performance.

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This Week: David Dorfman Dance Guest Artist Residency!

It’s finally here, Guest Artist week in the Department of Dance! As promised, David Dorfman is here, along with his company to spend the week teaching, rehearsing, participating in a panel discussion, and performing.

Some upcoming highlights:

Wednesday
2:30pm in Hartwell Theater
“Of Politics, Performance, and the Seeping Nature of Democratic Values” Lecture
Featuring Candace Feck of Ohio State University

Thursday
12:30pm in Hartwell Theater
“The Choreographies of Politics” Roundtable Discussion
Featuring:
David Dorfman, Artistic Director of David Dorfman Dance
Candace Feck, Professor of Dance at Ohio State University,
Barbara LeSavoy, Director of Women and Gender Studies
Dr. Andrea Cioliotta-Rubery, Professor of Political Science
Karl Rogers Professor of Dance and performing company member for David Dorfman Dance
Maura Keefe, PhD., Chair of the Department of Dance

7:30pm in Strasser Studio
David Dorfman Dance Performance, followed by a post-performance discussion.
Get your tickets at the BSG Box Office, or on their NEW website!

Modern Dance Classes Open to Observation:
Monday 9:05am and 11:15am in Strasser Studio
Tuesday 9:30am in Studio 240 and 10:45am in Strasser Studio
Wednesday 9:05am in Studio 240 and 11:15am in Strasser Studio
Friday 11:15am in Studio 240 and Strasser Studio

For more information about David Dorfman Dance, including artist bios, check out the company’s website.

Special thanks to the Student Dance Organization (SDO) for sponsoring this event.

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